tv NBC Nightly News NBC March 28, 2012 7:00pm-7:30pm EDT
nuclear--clean air energy. on our broadcast tonight, midair meltdown. what really happened in the cockpit at 30,000 feet. tonight, we're learning a lot more about the jetblue captain and the passengers who took him down. rather than go down themselves. final arguments in the supreme court showdown over health care. is so-called obamacare doomed? women and cancer. news tonight about what may be a growing risk for women. and the jackpot. what would you do with half a billion dollars? "nightly news" begins now. good evening. the title airline captain dates back to the days of shipping
captains and they are the captains of their own ship. at 30,000 feet, they are the authority figure, what they say goes, and they're responsible for all souls on board. so when the horror stories emerged from yesterday's jetblue flight, it sent a chill through the flying public. an airline pilot telling passengers to say their prayers because they were going down. thanks to a brave first officer, other crew members, and passengers who moved fast and with incredible force, we're reporting nothing worse tonight than a bizarre episode and what we might learn from it. we start off again this evening with tom costello in washington. good evening. hi, brian. the criminal complaint said the captain osbon showed up to work late on tuesday. he missed a flight briefing and then became increasingly erratic as the flight left for las vegas. from the criminal complaint, we're learning much more about the actions of 49-year-old
captain clayton osbon and what seems to have been a serious breakdown. screaming about bombs and al qaeda, passengers had to use their own belts to restrain him and keep him away from the exit door. according to the affidavit, it started as jet blue flight 191 was departing new york for las vegas. he was talking about being evaluated by someone. he asked the first officer to take control as he made incoherent comments about religion. osbon allegedly said, things just don't matter. yelled over the radio at air traffic controllers to be quiet, and he told his first officer we need to take a leap of faith, and we're not going to las vegas. after abruptly getting up to use the restroom, an off-duty captain entered the cockpit, locked the door, and changed the combination. flight attendants alerted passengers they may need help. when he realized he was locked out of the cockpit, he charged
the door. as the first officer got on the p.a. and asked passengers to restrain him. >> he was screaming things out like, let me in, let me in. we have to get this plane down. you better start saying the lord's prayer. we got to get out. we got to get out. >> a pilot's help is closely watched. the faa required a full medical exam every six months for pilots over 40. a variety of mental health conditions will usually disqualify a pilot from flying, among them, certain anxieties, bipolar disorder, personal disorders and psychosis. they will allow pilots to fly while on certain non-sedating mental health medications, but a chicago doctor who qualifies pilots for flight said it could be something else. >> there are certain medical conditions which can certainly result in a rapid deterioration of a person's stability. a drop in blood sugar, for example, can do that. >> we now know that clayton osbon has been flying for nearly 25 years. since 2000, he worked at jetblue
most recently as a standards captain. on the "today" show, they said captain osbon has always been a consummate professional. >> i have known the captain personally for a long period of time and there's been no indication of this in the past. >> veteran pilots insist that the copilot was capable of flying and landing the plane on his own without the help of the off-duty pilot who came to assist, but it was welcome help. >> a few papers having fun, but a point that should be made. take a look at this graphic from our friends at a flight tracking website. about 7,000 flights aloft in the air any given time. we should point out, all of them will go well and begin and end safely over the united states tonight. thom castello after this bizarre epizoed reporting out of washington tonight. now we turn to the final day of the marathon argues at supreme court over president obama's health care law, and it
might be on life support. today's focus was this, how much of it can be salvaged if the court throws out the controversial requirement that all americans be forced to buy health insurance? again tonight, our justice correspondent pete williams is at the supreme court. pete, good evening. >> brian, we're a long way from knowing whether the court will strike down the core of the law, the insurance requirement, but if it does, the justices seem to agree that more parts of the law should go with it, and many of them suggest tossing out most of it. outside the court, passionate sidewalk debates. >> what will we do? >> reduce the cost of health care with free market reform so more people can access it. >> we had that for a couple hundred years. >> the justices seems unanimous if the mandatory insurance requirement is thrown out, two closely related provisions would
have to go, too. one bans insurance companies from refusing to cover people with pre-existing conditions and the other limits when companies can charge higher rates. what other parts of the law should go? some of the court's conservatives, that easy. >> once you cut the guts out of it, who knows? who knows which of them were really desired by congress on their own and which ones weren't? >> my approach would say if you take the heart out of the statute, the statute's gone. >> and some of the conservatives said it would be unfair to keep the law's other demands that insurance companies broaden coverage and take away the income they get from making everyone buy it. >> is it within the proper exercise of this court's function to impose that kind of risk? can we say that congress would have intended there be that kind of risk? >> but justice stephen breyer said the part of the law not tied to the insurance mandate which is much bigger, includes hundreds of rules that could be saved. >> here's the rest of it, you know, and when i look through the rest of it, i have all kinds
of stuff in there. so what do you propose that we do other than spend a year reading all of this and have you argue over it? >> and the court's liberals said it should be up to congress, not the supreme court, to decide what else to keep. >> what's wrong with leaving it to in the hands of people who should be fixing this, not us? >> why shouldn't we say it's a choice between a wrecking operation, which is what you are requesting, or a salvage job? and the more conservative approach would be salvage rather than throwing out everything. >> the best hope for the obama administration would be this, that the justices would find it so hard to decide what to throw out and what to keep that they simply let the entire law stand. but tonight, that seems a dim prospect, brian. >> pete williams from the court, thanks. once again here with us in the studio is our legal correspondent, savannah guthrie. by all accounts, a rough day. the administration lawyer was
beaten up again today in front of the court. this is a big, three-day argument. something that will affect all americans, as they say, what have we learned? >> we have learned a lot. in the last three days. going in, the administration lawyers were confident. you would see legal scholars on all sides of the idealogical spectrum saying more likely than not, the law is going to be upheld. there was talk of significant majorities. maybe upheld 6-3. no one is talking like that anymore. it seems like it will be a squeaker, whichever way they go. and there's no question that even some of the legal arguments that some have looked at as unserious or legal long shots, the justices were taking very seriously. we're set up for a decision in june in the middle of an presidential election year. don't think the justices are not aware of and for some justices concerned about the credibility of the court as an institution if it hands down a 5-4 ruling in either direction along partisan lines that shows the court is as
politically divided as the rest of the country, brian. >> thank you for your counsel. the trayvon martin case landed on the floor of the house of representatives as congressman bobby rush of chicago took off his suit jacket to reveal he was wearing a hoodie underneath as he spoke about the need to end racial profiling in this country. he pulled up the hood, put his sunglasses on. that led him to be ruled out of order, let out of the house chamber, in fact, because it's against house rules to wear a hat or hood while on the floor. there is dramatic video captured on a cell phone of one family's harrowing escape from the deadly wildfires burning near denver. they were forced to drive through smoke and burning trees. crying of obviously frightened children can be heard in the background in the car until finally the father is heard saying, it's okay. we're out. today, colorado's governor stopped the use of the so-called planned burns like the one suspected of sparking these
massive fires which have so far destroyed dozens of homes. and tonight, what many fear could become the next environmental disaster. a dangerous gas leak in the north sea and a possibility of a massive explosion is causing a lot of people to ask, could this become a crisis like the one we all watched unfold in the gulf of mexico? our chief environmental affairs correspondent anne thompson is with us tonight from aberdeen, scotland, anne, good evening. >> good evening, brian. as officials here in aberdeen try to figure out how to stop that leak, they're also trying to stamp out growing concerns about a flare that is still burning on the abandoned platform. the flare burns off high-pressure gas and it does so some 500 feet above and 400 feet away from where the exploding gas is leaking, according to company officials, but one industry official we spoke to today said any ignition source,
even the smallest spark, could trigger an explosion and a fire on the platform and sink the rig and send fire down the well. but officials i spoke to tonight, they dismiss that as speculation, saying there is no immediate concern about the flare and they added that the wind is actually working in their favor, blowing the gas cloud away from the flare. they also added that in their opinion, this is not a repeat of the bp disaster in the gulf of mexico. unlike the deep-water horizon rig, this platform is in fairly shallow water, about 300 feet, but its well goes much deeper into the earth, some fo miles. that distance plus the solid rock in the north sea is going to make drilling a relief well much tougher. the estimate is six months. you remember in the bp case, it was three months. brian. >> anne thompson on this still unfolding story off the coast of scotland, anne, thanks. in cuba today, on the final day of the pope's visit, an historic mass. in havana's revolution square.
nbc news chief foreign affairs correspondent andrea mitchell is there and has our report. >> in an unusual homily with a sharp political edge in a square that symbolizes cuba's communist revolution, pope criticized the rev lose with raul castro front in center, the pontiff called for religious freedom. he preached cuba and the world need change, but this will occur only if each one is in the position to seek the truth. and he called for free thoughts, respect for human dignity, and more freedom for the church, including the right to religious school. after specifically asking raul castro to make good friday a national holiday. although hundreds of thousands attended, starting out in a procession before dawn, the pope did not meet with dissidents. disappointing human rights groups who fear that prominent activists known as the ladies in white, last seen in church on sunday, may have been detained.
their home and cell phones went dead last night, but he met with a notably frail fidel castro who brought his wife and two of his adult sons. the vatican said the two men joked about their age. the 84-year-old pontiff telling castro, who is 85, i'm old, but i still know how to do my job. castro told the pope he had watched the mass on television and was struck by how the liturgy has changed. since his days in a jesuit high school. before leaving, the pope criticized the 50 year u.s. economic embargo for imposing what he called an unfair burden on the people of cuba. andrea mitchell, nbc news, havana. and still ahead for us tonight, women, weight, and cancer. what could be a very dangerous combination, and there's new research tonight they're saying could save lives. and later, a half a billion dollar dream. a lot of people tonight are in it to win this. [ male announcer ] every day thousands of people are choosing advil®. here's one story. pain doesn't have much of a place in my life. i checked the schedule and it's not on it.
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as as we mentioned, new numbers on cancer deaths tonight are showing something of a gender gap. the numbers are getting better for men but not as much for women. our chief science correspondent robert bazell has more for us. >> in its annual report to the nation on cancer, the government finds that the overall death rate is falling, but not as much for women as for men. and the incidence of cancer continues it decline for men, but nfor women it's leveled off. no one knows all of the reasons for the trends, but in a industry report, the government emphasized that obesity and lack of exercise are increasingly recognized as major risk factors for many kinds of cancer. fully half of all cancer deaths in the u.s. could be prevented. the biggest preventable cause, not surprisingly, remains
tobacco, responsible for one third of cancer deaths. 189,000 a year. but obesity now accounts for one fifth or 114,000 deaths annually. many experts worry that the obesity epidemic threatens to wipe out many of the gains to control tobacco and better treat cancer. brian. >> much more on this study on bob's blog tonight on our website, nbcnightlynews.com. as part of the political trail mix on top of revelations about swiss bank accounts and his wife having, kwoement, a couple cadillacs, comes this, plans for mitt romney's home near san diego include a four-car garage and a car elevator for each of the cars. the plans were put off presumably because it looks bad and sounds bad, but they have since been revealed, and now his opponents and democrats will no doubt have at it. the romney campaign has said
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aboard the aircraft carrier museum "sss intrepid", an effort to help some of the nation's veterans find civilian jobs back home. it's parts of "hiring our heroes," a joint project by nbc universal and the u.s. chamber of commerce. more than 4400 vets and their spouses attended job fairs today in new york, chicago, ft. hood, texas. 16,000 more participated online. our own parent company, by the way, comcast nbc universal, pledged to hire 1,000 vets over the next three-year period. wes moore is here with us in the studio. he was a captain in the u.s.
army, 82nd airborne in afghanistan and has worked to get other vets hired since he got home from war. nice to have you. and no fair, by the way. you had a degree from johns hopkins, you were a rhodes scholar, but you were a captain, and someone hired you, and as i said on the broadcast last night, if you have seen a sergeant major in the army in the field, you would hire that person so fast because they can get anything done. >> it's so true. it's important for america to understand that not just working with vets, but hiring vets isn't a charity, it's an investment. you think about -- i think there's two real misconceptions that people have about veterans. people think particularly in light of the sergeant bales incident, they're ticking time bombs. the fact is the vast majority of veterans who come back home don't have any form of post traumatic stress syndrome or brain injury, and even if they do, those with proper treatment, there's no correlation with the
incidents and the murder sprees that we saw with sergeant bales. and many people think they're robots, yes, sir, no, sir. these veterans coming back home arentrepreneurial, creative, fearless. they have all of the skills people are looking for in the country. and being able to bring them in the employment work fold can only help our nation in the long run. >> captain, thank you for your service. good to have you here to help make this point. wes moore here with us. we'll have more on this on rock center tonight, and there's a lot more on all of the upcoming job fairs all over the country, for that matter, around the world, on our website, nbcnightlynews.com. reuters is reporting that hawker beachcraft will file for bankruptcy as part of a prearranged deal to obtain financing and continue making planes while reorganizing. it's been owned since early '07 by some big investment banking groups. a team that includes magic johnson will purchase the los angeles dodgers for $2 billion with a "b."
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think again. and take aleve. it's the one doctors recommend most for arthritis pain. two pills can last all day. ♪ two pills can last all day. sergio! christina! question for you. what factors led you to buy your explorer. definitely the ecoboost option. what's pretty amazing is that you can get the fuel economy of a car in an suv. that basically did it for us. and the technology... oh, my goodness, the technology is amazing. everything is touch. you can actually talk to the car and it talks back to you. what have your friends said about your explorer? can we drive it? can we borrow it? what's your answer? no. no way. uh uh. (laugh) as the old lottery ads used
to say on tv, all you need is a dollar and a dream. the dreams are big tonight, so is the jackpot in the mega millions lottery. it's the biggest it's ever been. our report on it tonight from nbc's kevin tibbles. >> the winning numbers -- >> didn't win last night? me neither. but don't despair. that means the mega millions jackpot just keeps growing. setting up friday's drawing to be the biggest ever, a staggering $500,000,000. in more than 40 states, lotto players can be forgiven for doing a little dreaming. >> a nice place on the water somewhere. >> a lifetime supply of oreos. >> i'll buy you a new porsche. >> at northwestern memorial, dr. david zeke prepared me for the big win. >> when you find out you win, quite frequently, the blood pressure drops. >> and i faint. >> and you faint, right.
>> that's how the last nbc employee felt when she won $266 million. >> i felt like my legs were going to fall out from underneath me. >> jackie now runs her own charitable foundation, and when richard morrison won $165 million, he, too, donated millions to chair aetd. in fact, that's what all of the people i spoke to today said they would do, too. >> donate some to charity. i don't need all that money. >> with the odds of 176 million to 1, the good doctor also said this diagnosis for all of us future losers. how do you describe the ailment i will have if i find out i have to go back to work on monday? >> that's much more serious. >> still, your chance of hitting two holes in one in the same round of golf are 19 times better than your chances of picking the winning lotto numbers on friday night. kevin tibbles, nbc news, shark. >> kevin will work here at "nightly news" for a good long time. that's our broadcast on a wednesday night. thank you for being here with us.
i'm brian williams. by the way, we hope to see you right back here tomorrow night, but before then, please join us later tonight for "rock center." 10:00, 9:00 central, a terrific broadcast planned for this evening. for all of us here, good night. labored breathing ] [ coughing continues ] [ gasping ] [ elevator bell dings, coughing continues ] [ female announcer ] washington can't ignore the facts.